Sour tasting white powder.
Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is an essential nutrient that the human
body cannot manufacture from other compounds.
It is needed for the
formation of collagen, the protein that makes up connective tissue,
and is essential to muscles, bones, cartilage, and blood vessels.
Ascorbic acid is also a good anti-oxidant, preventing damage from
oxygen free radicals.
Ascorbic acid is added to many foods for its nutritive value, but
is also used extensively as an anti-oxidant, to prevent flavors and
colors from being damaged by oxidation. It is often used in canned
or frozen fruits to prevent the browning that accompanies oxidation.
While not as powerful an anti-oxidant as
it has a better reputation, by virtue of being a vitamin.
An isomer of ascorbic acid (a molecule with the same number
and type of atoms, but in a different arrangement) called
erythorbic acid is often used as a cheaper anti-oxidant than
ascorbic acid. It has little or no effect as a vitamin, but it has
the same anti-oxidant properties.
To make ascorbic acid soluble in fats, it is reacted with fatty acids
such as palmitic acid to form ascorbyl palmitate, used
to prevent oxidation in fats and oils.
ascorbic acid: InChI=1/C6H8O6/c7-1-2(8)5-3(9)4(10)6(11)12-5/h2,5,7-8,10-11H,1H2
erythorbic acid: InChI=1/C6H8O6/c7-1-2(8)5-3(9)4(10)6(11)12-5/h2,5,7-8,10-11H,1H2/t2-,5-/m1/s1
ascorbyl palmitate: InChI=1/C22H38O7/c1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-18(24)28-16-17(23)21-19(25)20(26)22(27)29-21/h17,21,23,26-27H,2-16H2,1H3
palmitic acid: InChI=1/C16H32O2/c1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16(17)18/h2-15H2,1H3,(H,17,18)/f/h17H
By Simon Quellen Field